In this guide you will learn to:
One of the easiest ways to find a journal that will likely consider your manuscript is simply to enter search terms for your topic into your discipline's most important periodical database, gather the names of the four or five periodical titles that occur most often and then access their web sites. There you will generally find submission guidelines for authors, restrictions the journal has in place, acceptance rates, and other information that will help you determine if it's worth contacting them.
Finding a publisher for your book can be difficult and frustrating. Luckily there are handy tools that can make this task easier. See Association of University Presses Guide to Finding a Publisher. And their subject area grid.
Academic book proposals usually consist of six elements.
Introduction/Project Overview. This element provides the publisher with a general idea of your topic.
Rationale. The Rationale explains why your book will be an important addition to the literature. Why is it significant or unique? Why is it needed?
Structure. The Structure details your plan of organization for the book, often through a Table of Contents, or annotated chapters, sometimes with length (in number of words) included.
Competing Works. Related in some ways to the Rationale. Here you make the case for your book: how it is similar to, and, more importantly, different from existing works on the topic.
Status of the Project. How far along are you? What is your anticipated completion date? How long will the manuscript be (word count)?
Author’s Background. Here you argue why you are the right person to write the book. Publishers usually ask you for a CV, but feel free to include other information that distinguishes you from your peers.
Along with this information and a cover letter, you'll typically be asked to include two completed chapters. Some publishers now prefer to read the entire completed manuscript.
For additional information on book proposals, see Rachel Toor's article "Why It's Important to Write a Proposal For an Academic Book" first published in the May 19, 2020 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
I am also including an example of a successful book proposal/overview that I submitted to the West Virginia University Press in 2018 for my book on the McLain Family Band. See pdf at bottom of this page.
The web sites listed below can help you get your research published.